Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)
  • I think I want an inflatable kayak. Will I die?
  • Premier Icon slimjim78
    Full Member

    Here’s the scenario, I simply want a reliable kayak that’s easy to maintain/repair/store etc, that I can take out whenever the urge arises and hop straight into my local river/lake/sea front – with my son and possibly small dog in toe, packed with picnic gear and a few creature comforts.

    I’ve seen loads of these Sevylor inflatable kayaks for sale, quality looks good, sizes look good, prices are good.

    What’s to be avoided?

    And as a complete novice (I’ve used kayaks/canoes on holidays and school trips etc but have no idea on bylaws or anything like that), what are my limitations?
    Can I hop onto any water source without fear of reprimand?
    What are the main dangers?

    Which kayak for stability/storage/manaueverability ?
    Some look like banana boats, some look really sleek and pointy. Nice.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    What are the main dangers?

    Apart from the obvious ones, such as making sure your children are water safe, problems include that they are cumbersome, so control is more difficult, they don’t accelerate well, and it’s hard to maintain a straight course, but the main one is that they have high windage, and even a moderate wind can make life very difficult.

    I certainly wouldn’t take a child out on the sea or a deep lake except on the smoothest of days. And kids can and do drown wearing lifejackets. Don’t cheap out on those and make sure they fit and the kids can swim in them.

    Otherwise, they’re fun and stable (I have one).

    Premier Icon mrsfry
    Free Member

    What about sharks, alligators and shopping trolleys!

    Premier Icon slimjim78
    Full Member

    Hmm, I often have high windage myself but I assume you are referring to being blown around on the water?

    Are there any particular designs that lend themeselves better to this? Happy to take recommendations on model.
    Half half an eye on this listing: https://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/272222038852

    Premier Icon thegreatape
    Free Member

    I’ve had two encounters with inflatable kayaks from that brand in the last four months. The good news is that they appear pretty robust when we recovered them. The bad news relates to the sadly fatal over confidence of the people who bought them without a clue what they were doing, which you evidently plan to avoid. I suspect the low price and easy availability means this type get bought by people who don’t appreciate the risks involved in kayaking (not saying that’s you by the way, but it was true of the ones I met).

    Premier Icon Kelliesheros
    Free Member

    Inflatable kayaks are not inherently any more dangerous than a rigid craft, however, they are designed to be easily storable, which means that here are some downsides in terms of performance.

    If storage and transport is not an issue, i would always recommend a rigid craft. they just perform better. Also consider that lakes/rivers and the sea are very different environments, and one craft to do all three, normally means compromises again. For example touring on rivers and lakes, the best choice is without doubt a (canadian) canoe. I wouldn’t take one of those out in the sea.

    Sit on tops are another option, better in the sea, but wetter, so touring is not really their thing.

    Finally in terms of safety, i would suggest going and doing a course, or joining a local club for a few sessions. This will ensure that you understand the basics of water safety, and how to rescue yourself when it goes wrong. It also allows you to understand the impact that different water conditions have on a craft. I would suggest that most accidents, occur when people underestimate the impact of wind or higher water levels have. When things go wrong on a spate river, they go wrong badly and quickly.

    Finally, do it! Paddling is a wonderful activity and has so many disciplines to explore. I have taken my family paddling from when they where toddlers, they love it.

    edit: Another thing which puts me off inflatables, is that they might be easier to store and transport – but god are they a faff to get going. My open boat, i rock up to river take boat off roof, and throw it in the river. I dont have to spend 30mins pumping the goddam thing up. Also my open boat is 15+ yrs old now – it is still solid, and i bought it second hand. It probably has not depreciated in that time. Inflatables i doubt have this level of longevity.

    Premier Icon sweepy
    Free Member

    That one you linked to, Ive seen people using those and they looked pretty good within their limitations. Apparently they take a while to dry out being skin/bladder unlike something like a gumotex.
    I’d consider a bid on it, but bear in mind decathlon sell them new for £400 so dont get carried away in a bidding war.
    Do check out gumotex tho.

    Premier Icon samunkim
    Free Member

    Got a couple myself. A skeg (keel) makes them track much much better and at around £10.00 are a worthy addition

    Premier Icon gwaelod
    Free Member

    Mrsfry…never mind sharks, alligators and shopping trolleys..what about bloody Narwhals…. Can you imagine if a vindictive Narwhal gets amongs a flock of inflatable canoes….carnage!

    Premier Icon TrekEX8
    Free Member

    Make sure you get a stove for it – then you can have your kayak and heat it……

    Premier Icon slimjim78
    Full Member

    What are you talking a-boat?

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    mrsfry – Member
    What about sharks, alligators and shopping trolleys!

    In Oz I lived on the beach along the Great Barrier Reef. Saw plenty salties (salt water crocodiles) and sharks when out paddling. I even bashed into a big tiger shark once when I was coming off a wave – don’t know who got the biggest fright, him or me.

    The truly scary thing was the box jellyfish. Get tipped out into a swarm of them and it’s game over, very painfully.

    I never encountered a shopping trolley. It sounds pretty dicey though – I’ll avoid canals. 🙂

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Full Member

    There was a thread on this last week
    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/anyone-got-an-inflatable-kayak

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Free Member

    Fine for inland water, but would never want to use one in the sea – a slight rip or breeze would probably overcome a novice paddler. I paddle on my local canal and encounter them, often going around in circles or trapped in the trees due to a slight breeze. British Canoeing membership permits you to paddle inland waters.

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    In answer to the original question – probably not but it’s possible, and as with most dangerous sports if you have in mind you might die and think through all the things that could go wrong you are more likely to survive. We’ve lost one adventure racing friend who got caught in riverside branches, forced under and trapped. Flowing water is very powerful and there are places you don’t want to be in it, however powerful a swimmer you are.

    I don’t consider the sea to be especially risky. Take the obligatory equipment for the distance you’re going out, check on tides, currents and wind direction, have someone keep an eye on you. Do that and there’s objectively less to go wrong than in a flowing river with rocks, rapids, tree branches dangling in the water, the current taking you where you don’t want to go, capsize probable.

    If you are taking your son you need a big margin because if you are pushing your own limits there is no way you will be able to look after anyone else.

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    British Canoeing membership permits you to paddle inland waters.

    That made me chuckle a lot. It’s untrue on so many levels.

    The man who spake about inflatables being a faff told the truth. They are a pain to inflate and deflate. Whether that’s worse than carrying a proper canoe on a roofrack is a moot point.

    Got a Sevylor SK400DS. Supposedly whitewater capable, but swamps with two adults on anything choppy.

    I’m off to the Ardeche at the end of May to do the gorge and a few shorted trips with the kids and their grandma! The french really know how to do river access. The UK is a sack of shit in that respect.

    Finally, as the man said above, be careful. Kayaking is proper dangerous. I’ve done parachuting, rock and ice climbing, (including soloing 100 routes in a day), lots of off piste skiing, riding, surfing, mtb, and road biking.
    I used to do a lot of kayaking, but gave it up because it was just too risky.

    Be very very careful

    Premier Icon Esme
    Full Member

    “British Canoeing membership permits you to paddle on inland waters”
    Sadly not, only on canals. River access is even more controversial than the footpath/bridleway issue.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    Of course, in Scotland you can basically paddle wherever you want.

    Premier Icon OrmanCheep
    Free Member

    Did someone say ‘shopping trolleys’?
    This is what happened to my canoe last week, trying to avoid some on a weir.
    Been down a few times to try and recover it, but river is about 12″ higher now, and it’s impossible to get to safely.

    Premier Icon jonnyseven
    Free Member

    I got a 2 man sevlor one last year in a Decathalon sale with the idea it was much easier to store and transport. Similar to a Colorado but rebranded and cheaper. Used it a few times – Llanberis etc. It was fine for what I used it for but found a couple of issues. As a blow up it’s wider than normal kayak and found I caught my hands on the sides a lot. By the end of one session the sides were covered in blood. Gets hard going in wind. Need a skeg. Drying can be a pain.
    However it is much sturdier than I expected and something like that would be fine for the use you want it for. Stores easily but it’s not light.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    This thread has been bothering me so I thought I’d post this: How wrong it can go

    It still makes me sad to think about it.

    None of my kids were allowed in a boat until they could swim 1 kilometre and also hold their breath underwater for one minute. It didn’t necessarily drown proof them, but it meant they had a better chance and were confident in the water.

    OrmanCheep – Member
    Did someone say ‘shopping trolleys’?

    That’s proper scary, as in a serious chance of death. Now I know why mrsfry mentioned those shopping trolleys. 🙂

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    How wrong it can go. It obviously went tragically wrong and there are some lessons if you read between the lines:

    There were two adults and four kids in the canoe.
    They were 500m from shore.
    The water up there is very cold and the word “wetsuit” doesn’t appear in the article. It doesn’t matter how far you can swim if you’ve only got a few minutes before the cold puts you out of action.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    Properly prepared water is a friendly environment, unprepared and you’re dicing with death.

    The trouble is it often looks so innocuous.

Viewing 23 posts - 1 through 23 (of 23 total)

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